In 2014 the Dubai Health Authority initiated a comprehensive initiative to provide sustainable high-quality healthcare in Dubai for nationals, residents and visitors – The insurance System for Advancing Healthcare in Dubai (ISAHD).
Health insurance in Dubai is mandatory.
The gist of the new system is that everyone should have some form of health insurance in Dubai. Residency visas will not be granted unless applicants have a valid health cover.
Providing health insurance in Dubai is employers' responsibility
The new law, endorsed by Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, says that it is the responsibility of employers to provide all their employees with health insurance schemes.
However, employers are not obliged to insure expats' dependents. Although the DHA urges employers to cover the dependents of their staff as well, obviously some of them pass this responsibility on to their employees.
So if you are one of those expats whose employer does not provide healthcare for dependents, you can either choose to opt for the Essential Benefits Plan (EBP) or take a private health cover.
The Essential Benefits Plan
If private health insurance in Dubai looks a bit too pricey for you, then you need to look at the Essential Benefits Plan. The EBP is a basic health cover that you can buy at a reasonable price: EBP premiums start from Dh650 to Dh725 per year.
If you have uninsured family members (dependents) – elderly parents, non-working spouse, children, and/or employ domestic help who earn less than Dh4,000 per month, and you cannot afford to insure them privately, EBP is the best option.
However, basic means basic, so be sure you understand what is covered by the EBP. Although it covers most common illnesses, regular health check-ups and emergency treatments, for better or more specialised coverage you need to have private insurance.
Moreover, if you insure elderly people over 65 years old and females from 18 to 45, be prepared to pay much higher premiums.
If you employ domestic help who earn below Dh4,000 per month, you can also insure them using the EBP. If their monthly salary is over Dh4,000, you can opt for other health insurance provided it offers the same or better coverage than the EBP.
How much the EBP costs
Every year the DHA sets the premium rates which the participating in EBP insurance companies cannot exceed. In 2017 the rates have been set as follows:
For family members:
– General non-working group aged zero to 65 years – From Dh650
– Non-working married females aged 18 to 45 years – From Dh1,600
– Elderly parents – From Dh2,500
For domestic help:
– General – From Dh650
What is covered by the EBP
The EBP covers most common in-patient and out-patient treatments such as tests (including lab test radiology), surgeries and diagnostic procedures, physiotherapy sessions (maximum six per year). However, insured patients are expected to pay up to 20% of the costs provided it does not exceed Dh500 for a session or Dh1,000 a year.
Under the EBP 70% of the costs of prescribed medicines are paid by the insurer (up to up to Dh1500 per person). The plan also covers preventive medicine or immunisation procedures for newborns and children, and emergency health care and ambulance service.
Pregnant women's health in Dubai is also covered by the EBP. It includes blood tests, three ultrasounds and 8 visits to a doctor during pregnancy, natural delivery and emergency Caesarean.
Insured patients are expected to pay 10% of the costs. New-born children are protected by the mother's insurance for the first 30 for neo-natal tests, screening, and other tests.
Pre-existing or chronic conditions
You must notify your insurance company of your pre-existing or chronic conditions when you apply for a cover. After a six-month waiting period, your pre-existing conditions will be covered by the EBP. During the 6 months, any emergency related to the conditions will be covered like all other claims under the scheme.
Staying healthy in Dubai
Whether you need a regular check-up or an emergency appointment, you can expect good quality healthcare in Dubai. As the Emirate is trying to excel in healthcare and become one of the world's leading medical centres, they invest a lot in cutting edge equipment, new hospitals and skilled professionals.
You might find useful:
- Working In Dubai – How to Find A Good Job In The UAE;
- Dubai Rules & Laws Explained;
- Visit our Dubai Guides page for more information on living in Dubai.